The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Huntington Theatre Company $245,000 so that Huntington Playwriting Fellow Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew, Becoming Cuba) can join the company’s full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. The award is one of 14 residency grants at theatre companies around the US.
The residency began in July 2013 and will continue through 2019. It will primarily provide Lopez with what she calls, “quiet time; dream-time; writing and more writing time.” In addition to the Huntington's 2014 production of her new play, Becoming Cuba, Lopez was able to travel to Cuba for research, develop two additional pieces, and begin work on a third. The Huntington will assist with readings, public readings, developmental workshops, and dramaturgical support. Lopez will also work closely with Artistic Director Peter DuBois and the Huntington’s artistic staff to develop her skills as a producer and artistic leader. “I’m so happy to have enjoyed a long, rich relationship with the Huntington,” she says. “To be able to work closely with Peter and the entire Huntington community in a new capacity and to be funded so I can write full-time is literally a dream come true.”
About Melinda Lopez
Amelia Alvarez and Ivan Quintanilla in Sonia Flew (2004). Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Lopez has been an vital and celebrated member of the Huntington’s artistic community since 2003 when she was named to the first class of Huntington Playwriting Fellows. In 2004, the Huntington inaugurated its newly constructed second home, the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, with a world premiere production of her play Sonia Flew directed by then-Artistic Director Nicholas Martin. Lopez has served as a Huntington Overseer, advocating for support for new play development and education programs, and also on the search committee that selected DuBois as artistic director. The Huntington has nurtured four of Lopez’s plays through the Breaking Ground reading series, and workshopped her latest play, Becoming Cuba, in its 2012 Summer Workshop. Lopez is also an accomplished actress, having performed in four prior Huntington productions including the widely acclaimed production of Our Town, directed by David Cromer.
A resident of Bedford, MA, Lopez received Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best New Play for Sonia Flew, which has subsequently been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, San Jose Rep, and elsewhere around the country. Her other plays include God Smells Like a Roast Pig (Elliot Norton Best Solo Performance), Midnight Sandwich/Medianoche (Coconut Grove Playhouse), Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse), Gary (Steppenwolf First Look, Boston Playwrights Theatre), Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and Orchids to Octopi (Central Square Theatre). She has also served as a panel member for the NEA and has enjoyed residencies with Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the Lark Play Development Center, New York Theatre Workshop, and Harvard University. She teaches theatre and performance at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University.